Talking Tough Love and Leadership with Ambassador Susan Rice
Play • 45 min

Today it is my honor and privilege to welcome Ambassador Susan Rice to the podcast!


Though Susan needs little introduction, she is an incredible woman and I would like to take the time to appreciate all of her auspicious accomplishments. From 1993-1997, Susan served as President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff. Then, at 32-years-old, Rice became the youngest person in U.S. history to serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs at the State Department (which she served from 1997-2001). As a former Brookings Institution fellow, Rice served as a Foreign Policy Advisor to Democratic presidential nominees Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, and Barack Obama. After Obama won the 2008 presidential election, Rice was nominated as Ambassador to the United Nations until 2013. From 2013-2017, she led the National Security Council Staff and chaired the Cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee.


Currently, Ambassador Rice is a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow in the School of International Service (SIS) at the American University, a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center of Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She also currently serves on the board of Netflix and is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, American Academy of Diplomacy, and Council of Foreign Relations. I don’t know how she finds all the time!


In our conversation today, Rice shares about her life journey from a personal and professional perspective; the fascinating history of her incredible family and how they’ve persevered through prejudice; her recent book, Tough Love: My Story of Things Worth Fighting For; and her hopes for the future of America. Rice also shares what “tough love” means to her; how she has personally persevered through ageism, sexism, and racism throughout her career; and some of the many incredible highlights and stories from her and her family’s lives. Don’t miss out on this one.


Key Takeaways:

[:39] About today’s fantastic guest, Susan Rice.

[2:26] Welcoming Susan Rice to the podcast!

[2:30] The story of how Susan and I first became acquainted.

[3:48] Susan shares the meaning behind her book’s title, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For.

[5:42] Rice shares some powerful stories about how her family has overcome many trials and tribulations, and still managed to find incredible success.

[12:17] How Rice and her brother found their paths through the help of their parents.

[15:02] Did Rice (or her brother) ever feel pressured to find success just as their parents had?

[15:48] Now a parent of two young adults, Rice shares about her early days of balancing family and her career.

[22:12] Rice’s first conversation with Barack Obama where he asked if she would serve as his Ambassador to the United Nations.

[23:54] Rice gives a current update about what her sons are currently doing and pursuing.

[25:30] Rice speaks about the experiences in her career through the perspective of often being the only black woman in the room. She shares what she has learned from this perspective, how the lessons her parents have taught her have informed her, and how she handles being prejudiced against.

[31:48] In Rice’s memoir, she is quoted to say that one of her most gratifying initiatives during the Obama administration was leading the NSC’s Principal’s push to diversify the national security workforce. She elaborates on why it is important for the national security workforce to reflect the diversity of America.

[35:53] An expert of the afterword in Rice’s book, Tough Love, reads, “American presidents take responsibility. They lead. Especially in times of crisis.” Rice elaborates on this and spreads some hopeful and encouraging words about the ongoing pandemic and the future of America.

[42:46] Thanking Susan Rice for joining the podcast.


Mentioned in this Episode:

Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, by Susan Rice

Management Leadership for Tomorrow


About Fifth Dimensional Leadership & Ginny Clarke Fifth-Dimensional Leadership is a podcast about leadership — knowing yourself, speaking your truth, inspiring love, expanding your consciousness and activating your mastery. As an executive recruiter and career expert currently leading executive recruiting at a Fortune 20 tech company, Ginny Clarke is a passionate and authentic thought leader with a unique and deliberate perspective on work and life. She synthesizes aspects of her life as an African-American single mother who has successfully navigated corporate America for over 30 years. She has inspired, uplifted, and changed the lives of thousands and is intentional about bringing conscious awareness to people of all ages and stages.   Every other week, a new edition of Fifth-Dimensional Leadership will include fascinating guests, covering a variety of topics: power, personal branding, self-awareness, networking, fear, and career management   Stay Connected! To find more episodes or learn more, visit: Connect with her on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube
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